CHICAGO -- The Indians are not ready to declare whether Roberto Hernandez will pitch again this season.
On Wednesday, Hernandez worked through a four-inning simulated game and fielding drills to test his sprained right ankle. Indians manager Manny Acta said Hernandez showed improvement over his previous workout.
"He threw the ball very well and moved around better than the last time I saw him," Acta said. "We're going to see how he bounces back, how he shows up on Friday, and then we'll make a decision then."
Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Hernandez's mobility -- the main concern for the ballclub -- was better.
"He's looking a little more confident and a little more smooth each time out," Soloff said. "That's a positive thing."
Hernandez, who sustained the ankle injury during an outing against the A's on Aug. 27, has gone 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts for the Indians. This offeason, the pitcher would become eligible for free agency if Cleveland declines his $6 million club option for the 2013 campaign.
R. Perez undergoes surgery on left shoulder
CHICAGO -- The Indians are confident that left-hander Rafael Perez will be at full strength by the time next Spring Training arrives. That was not the case this spring, or in the six months that followed.
On Wednesday, Perez's season-long battle with an arm injury ended with an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left shoulder. The surgery was performed by Dr. Craig Morgan in Delaware and will require a recovery period of two months.
"Everything went as expected," Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said of the 30-minute operation. "He'll initiate a throwing program in approximately two months and is expected to be full-go by Spring Training."
Perez, 30, first complained of shoulder soreness in Spring Training and landed on the 15-day disabled list on April 26 with a strained left lat muscle. The lefty posted a 3.52 ERA in eight April appearances, but displayed diminished velocity to go along with command issues.
Between the 2007-11 seasons, Perez went a combined 20-12 with a 3.61 ERA in 312 appearances for the Indians. The lefty avoided arbitration with the Tribe last offseason by inking a one-year deal worth $2.005 million. Perez will be eligible for arbitration for a final time this winter.
Perez appeared poised to return to Cleveland's bullpen in August, but he sprained his right ankle in an Aug. 11 rehab outing with Triple-A Columbus. In the weeks that followed, Perez again complained of shoulder discomfort, leading Cleveland to seek a possible solution via surgery.
Given the risky nature of shoulder procedures, the Indians wanted to try a conservative rehab program before having Perez undergo surgery.
"As durable as Raffy has been over the years," Soloff said, "it was really the first time he had ever had any shoulder symptoms."
Jimenez shut down for season's final week
CHICAGO -- Ubaldo Jimenez's disappointing season for the Indians has come to a quiet end.
On Wednesday, Cleveland announced that Jimenez has been shut down for the rest of the season because of a minor right ankle sprain. The pitcher indicated that he was been bothered by the issue during his past two outings.
"The good thing," Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said, "in my opinion, is that it's a minor issue that's going to respond exceptionally well to rest and rehab."
With Jimenez sidelined for the season's final week, the Indians have shuffled their rotation slightly. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will move out of the bullpen for a start against the Royals on Saturday. The tentative rotation for the four games that follow appears to be Zach McAllister, Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson and David Huff.
That could change if the Indians clear Roberto Hernandez (right ankle sprain) to make one final start.
Jimenez had his ailing ankle examined by Dr. Brian Donley at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday and the pitcher was instructed to rest for a period of seven to 10 days. Under normal circumstances, Jimenez would then be cleared to resume throwing, but the timing means the righty will instead get an early jump on his offseason.
In 31 starts, Jimenez went 9-17 with a 5.55 ERA across 176 2/3 innings, during which he compiled 143 strikeouts and 95 walks. Jimenez is the first Indians pitcher since 1987 (Tom Candiotti, 18 losses) to lose at least 17 games in one year. His 5.55 ERA is the second-highest mark by an Indians starter for a single season (Jack Morris, 5.60 ERA, 1994), dating back to 1921.
Quote to note
"Every one of our guys had to go look in front of the mirror and say, 'This is what happened and this is how we need to deal with it.' So, mentally, you have to be tough to get through the ups and downs. As long as you stay mentally tough, you can overcome anything, in my opinion."
-- Indians center fielder Michael Brantley, on the team's season
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera exited Wednesday's game after one at-bat because of a mid-back strain and was replaced by infielder Brent Lillibridge. He has battled a left wrist injury for most of September. Indians center fielder Michael Brantley (left groin) was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for the third consecutive game. With a team off-day on Thursday, Cleveland is hopeful Brantley will be able to return to the lineup on Friday.
"We're just going to take advantage of the day off," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We'll give him the day off [Wednesday], plus tomorrow, and he should be ready to go."
Indians closer Chris Perez established a new single-season career best on Tuesday by collecting his 37th save -- one more than he had last year. He then added No. 38 during Wednesday's 6-4 win. It was the 98th save of his Indians career, which puts him fourth on the team's all-time list behind Bob Wickman (139), Doug Jones (129) and Jose Mesa (104).
Indians infielder Jason Donald, who has not played since Sept. 14 because of a right hand injury, continued to work through hitting and fielding drills on Wednesday. Manager Manny Acta is hopeful that Donald will be available for full duties on Friday.